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Home Team News Home / News / Greater road safety a key objective for MHA  
Published: 08 Mar 2013 09:09AM (Singapore)
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Greater road safety a key objective for MHA
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Harsher penalties for traffic offences committed within enhanced school zones and a new voluntary Safe Driving Course for motorists who have accumulated half or more of their maximum allowable demerit points. These are just a few of the initiatives under the “Safer Roads Singapore” strategy revealed by Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office Mr S Iswaran during the 2013 Budget Debates.
 
By Joanne Yan
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By the end of 2013, the Traffic Police will deploy 70 more officers on the roads to step up on road safety enforcement. PHOTO: Matthew Wong

Each year, the Singapore’s Parliament will begin its debate on the Finance Minister’s 2013 Budget statement and there after, the Budget allocations for the various ministries.

In response to safety and security issues raised by Members of Parliament, Mr S Iswaran, Second Minister for Home Affairs, announced new measures by the Traffic Police (TP) to enhance road safety in Singapore, amongst others.

Road safety is of paramount importance

One of TP’s main focuses would be on corrective education for traffic offenders.

A new voluntary Safe Driving Course will be introduced to motorists who have accumulated half or more of their maximum allowable demerit points.

As an encouragement, three demerit points will be deducted off their records upon completion of the course.

Leveraging on technology, TP will be working with the Land Transport Authority (LTA) to tighten existing speed limit regimes for heavy vehicles above certain weight class.

TP is currently developing a new speed limit system that will be able to detect tampering in real time and this will be installed on all heavy vehicles.

With the recent deaths of two children on the roads underscoring the need for such tougher measures, the TP will also continue to increase its efforts to educate and engage educational institutions as well as other vulnerable road users such as the elderly.

To ensure that motorists take extra care when driving near schools, motorists will incur an additional demerit point should they commit speeding, red-running and other inconsiderate driving offences within the school zones.

By intensifying ongoing education, engagement and enforcement efforts, TP hopes to prevent further loss of lives.

This will be the key focus of the Road Safety Month jointly organised by the Singapore Road Safety Council.

Over the years, TP has worked well with industry partners on road safety engagement efforts.

Poh Tiong Choon Logistics Limited is one such company which places great emphasis on road safety for its drivers.

The company engages TP to conduct safety talks and defensive driving lessons for its drivers, and it rewards drivers with year-end bonuses if they stay accident-free.


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Community Policing Officers patrolling around stalls in the heartlands, in the hopes of building stronger relations to help facilitate police work PHOTO: Joanne Yan

Updates on the Community Policing System

Mr S Iswaran also shared about the overall low crime rates, Singapore’s lowest in 30 years.

One of the Singapore Police Force’s recent efforts which has seen encouraging results is the launch of the Community Policing System (COPS) in May last year.

This initiative has brought SPF officers closer to residents to better enhance the security of the heartlands.

Under the new COPS scheme is the introduction of a Crime Strike Force team established at Neighbourhood Police Centres (NPC).

In June 2012, the Bukit Merah East Crime Strike Force (comprising plain clothes officers) was able to swiftly locate and arrest a thief at New Bridge Centre with the help of local intelligence and CCTV footage.

By the end of 2013, more than 17 NPCs would have adopted the COPS model and all 35 NPCs would have made the transition by 2015.

Keeping the neighbourhoods safe from vice and crime continues to be a core area of concern for the SPF and enforcement efforts againt loanshark syndicates have made headway.

The number of unlicensed moneylending continues on its third year of decline to 10,835 cases in 2012.

On tackling community disputes

Mr S Iswaran also touched on community disputes such as anti-social behaviour and inconsiderate conduct as these can affect residents’ sense of safety.

SPF’s main resource should go into crime fighting and in most community dispute cases where there is no breach in law and order, officers would normally hand over these cases to the Community Mediation Centre.

He urged community leaders and residents to play their part in cultivating a spirit of “give and take” and not rely merely on mediation, enforcement and penalties.

“The Home Team will continue to enhance our operationally capabilities, stay firm in enforcement and leverage on technology for greater effectiveness,” added Mr S Iswaran.

“At the same time, we will continue to need the support of each and every member of the community to maintain a safe and secure home for all of us,” he concluded.


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